At 10 a.m on April 4, 2010, a distinguished group of leaders from across the secular movement will be asked to offer, very briefly, a contribution as to how we–all of us, individuals and local, regional, and national organizations in the community of reason–can become more visible, better known for who we really are. This will not be a discussion or a panel but, instead, a very fast-paced series of ideas. Each invitation-only participant will have a strictly enforced two minutes (120 seconds) to introduce herself or himself, declare any organizational affiliation (optional), and then state/show/describe/sing/explain an idea. This can be whatever the presenter wants, and need not be in English words:
•the entire script of a 30-second TV ad
•a slogan or catch-phrase
•a song/jingle/ditty, either words only or sung by the presenter
•a billboard (text or, if preferred, hold up a drawing of what the billboard should look like)
•a bus placard (text or, if preferred, hold up a drawing of what the placard should look like)
•a magazine or newspaper ad (text or, if preferred, hold up a mock-up of what the ad should look like)
•an idea or set of ideas as to how we should all go about gaining free publicity or coordinating our ads somehow
•an idea or set of ideas about how financing might could be generated for buying ads
•something else the organizers haven’t even thought of
This is intended to be a serious collection of creative ideas, not a spoof–but a lighter or witty touch is certainly welcome. This event and the spreading of the ideas afterward is jointly sponsored by American Atheists and the United Coalition of Reason (other cosponsors possibly to be added).
Ideas need not be original or wholly new: American Atheists, FFRF, FreeThoughtAction, and United CoR have all had past success with billboards; bus ads and placards have been used effectively in the UK, in Washington (American Humanist Association), by the FFRF and United CoR, and in New York City (NYCAtheists). Many, many ads and free events, large and small, including of course the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002, have helped in the past.
All the participants will be filmed, the result will be edited only to eliminate serious gaffes, and the result will be made widely available to local and national groups or individuals, either for free or for a most nominal charge ($4 perhaps) to cover the costs of producing and mailing the DVDs.
This is not intended to be a finished product but instead a further step toward improving our (for all of us) public relations. The effort will, of course, benefit American Atheists and United CoR, as well as those who regard themselves as valued allies. But there will be no objection whatever to the result being used to help any atheist, freethought, humanist, nontheist, rationalist, secular humanist, ethical culturist, etc., group, either in the ideas offered or in what may grow out of it.
Every participant will agree as a condition of participation that the ideas or images presented are thereafter in the public domain–credit to presenters being appreciated but not required. These ideas, once let loose, will have the freedom to grow on their own.
That’s what we want for all our children, isn’t it?